NAIL Member Nails Los Gatos Weekly

Dear Editor,

Jennifer McLain's story on the meeting of Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging (NAIL), published on September 21, contains several errors in its superficial narrative.

The sixth paragraph includes the statement, "Not present, however, were representatives from the water company or Big Creek." In fact, a representative from each organization appeared and spoke in the brief time alotted for questions and answers following the main presentations. A representative of the water company appealed to what he believes to be common goals. The representative of the lumber company spoke of a family operation that had been a neighbor for many decades.

The seventh paragraph includes a statement from John Tang, the water company representative, which would be wholly inaccurate if he were not there. But he was present, so it was possible for him to "hear the questions and concerns from the community, and [to] have every intention to address all of them." The eleventh paragraph further contradicts the sixth, saying, "Though Big Creek and San Jose Water Company were not on the agenda at the residents' forum, [Bob Berlage, communications director for Big Creek] and Tang spoke during the question and answer part of the meeting."

The eighth paragraph omits the effects of logging truck traffic on narrow roads, diminishes the impact of noise from logging operations, omitting reverberations in the canyons which make up a large part of the proposed logging area, and fails to identify several sources of noise: large helicopters, trucks, and chainsaws. It fails to note the close proximity to homes and schools in which these noise-producing and hazardous operations would occur, or the impact on people who work late shifts and therefore must sleep into proposed operating hours.

The eight paragraph diminishes logging's inevitable destruction on soil and to surrounding plant and animal life, both native and invasive. This destruction would be particularly severe on the steep slopes which characterize the proposed logging area. And because invasive species more quickly capitalize on ecological disturbance, logging operations would effectively displace native species.

The eighth paragraph also diminishes the increased fire danger that would result from logging operations, omitting empirical evidence cited by speakers that operations which remove the the most valuable trees increase fire danger, in direct contradiction to the water company claim that a goal of this operation is to reduce fire danger. This danger arises in part through increased light penetration, which encourages highly flammable (particularly invasive species) undergrowth.

Finally, the eighth paragraph omits the fact that the logging plan, which would ostensibly reduce fire danger, does nothing about the undergrowth, particularly in invasive species, e.g. Broom, that dramatically increases the fire danger in the area.

This story cites the failure to include logging proponents at an opposition rally, appealing to the news media's ideal of "balanced coverage," but contains factual errors and misrepresentations; it investigates none of the claims made by either side and omits considerable substance supporting the NAIL position in its coverage of a NAIL event. It misses the purpose of the event and thus suggests a bias against NAIL.

David Benfell

Terry Clark
September 25, 2005